Karnataka BJP President and Lok Sabha MP Nalin Kumar Kateel on Monday stoked a controversy by asking his fellow politicians to concentrate on 'love jihad' and not the issues of road and sewage problems.
The BJP MP made the comments at a party meeting in ‘Booth Vijaya Abhiyana' in Mangaluru, Karnataka, where elections are due later this year.
During the event, he said, “So I am asking you people, don't speak about small issues like roads and sewage. Don't discuss that Vedavyasa didn't raise his hands inside Vidhan Soudha. Don't say that Nalin Kumar doesn't have the right to raise the issue. You’re not going to get gold from Nalin Kumar Kateel rights.”
He further added, “If you’re worried about your children’s future, and if you want to stop Love Jihad, then we need the Bhartiya Janata Party. To get rid of Love Jihad, we need the Bharatiya Janata Party."
Various BJP-ruled states like Maharashtra, Madhya Pradesh and Uttar Pradesh are considering laws to deal with "love jihad". Karnataka has a law against forced conversions, but right-wing leaders want a separate law for cases of "love jihad".
In the past few years, inter-faith marriages and laws related to religious conversions have made noise for all the reasons. The state legislatures in Karnataka and Haryana made laws prohibiting forced religious conversions in 2022. The Himachal Pradesh High Court in 2012 struck down the mandate to seek prior sanction from the district magistrate for religious conversions. However, in 2019, the same provisions we re-enacted and brought into effect more stringently. Seven states, since 2017 have enacted anti-conversion laws in India.